Making Sense of Morality: A Brief Assessment of MacIntyre’s Ethics

Various ethics terms
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Some Contributions

What should we make of MacIntyre’s proposals? His ethics focuses on the importance of good character by embodying moral virtues and being authentic. He also draws attention to the importance of community. And, he emphasizes the need for living out the virtues, and not merely engaging in abstract theorizing.

Broad Concerns

As we have seen, MacIntyre and other authors writing in the light of the postmodern turn embrace nominalism. Yet, we have seen its disastrous effects, leaving us without any qualities whatsoever. So, there are no people, no morals (not even our core ones), no world, etc. But surely this is false, and it destroys morality.

Specific Concerns

Now, MacIntyre rejects the soul as the basis for one’s being the same person through change. For one, it would be an essence, and he seems to think humans are just bodies (Dependent Rational Animals, 6). Can the unity of one’s narrative meet this need?

For Further Reading

Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, 3rd ed.; Dependent Rational Animals; and Whose Justice? Which Rationality?

Professor of ethics, philosophy of religion @ Biola's MA Christian Apologetics. Interests: ethics, knowledge, nominalism, & how Christians have been naturalized